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National Gambling Board

South African Responsible Gambling Foundation

Overall Scope and Structure

The scope of this mini-encyclopaedia is to present web users with an introduction to a variety of topics related both directly and tangentially to gambling – in itself a vast topic. As stated in the Concept page, a range of subjects is covered. A note on the Structure is necessary in order to elucidate the different “look”, level and presentation of the various topics.
After the Concept page, we go on to describe the scope and structure of the other topics in the Menu.

The first topic, Risk, is a brief look at one of the main underlying motivations for gambling, especially, as we shall see later, in problem gambling. It is presented as more or less continuous text, that would be suitable for tertiary level web users, or those involved in the gambling business professionally.  It covers a discussion of risk as a concept and risk-taking as a behaviour that falls on a continuum, and looks at both the psychology and psychopathology of risk-taking behaviour.

Addiction, the next topic is similarly geared towards web users at a tertiary level or those professionally interested in this topic. It is a complex subject and we try to give as broad an overview into it as possible without either over-simplifying it or making it too academic. There are plenty of web sites that a user can link to for more detailed information if so desired. It is a general look at addiction, not only as related to gambling, covering topics such as terminology, diagnosis of addictive behaviour and causes. Having said this however, there is considerable coverage of gambling, as this is defined as the “purest” form of addiction by Profs Don Ross et al in new ground-breaking work, Midbrain Mutiny: The Picoeconomics and Neuroeconomics of Disordered Gambling (2008), MIT Press London.

The third topic, Gambling is presented in a more user friendly manner, in that it does not have long sections of unbroken text. This is because it is conceived as a module that can stand on its own, for those simply looking for an overview of gambling. It is illustrated and also has Activities and Fact Files, which means it is also an ideal teaching/workshop vehicle. Although presented in this manner, as it deals with the statistics of gambling, it requires a level of mathematical literacy of about Grade 10 – 12. So once again it could also be of interest to professionals in the field who would like to know more about how the odds are stacked against the punter!  Like the other sections it refers to websites that users may find interesting and helpful to look at. It covers the topics of a discussion of what constitutes gambling, before moving on to look at the odds, and a detailed presentation on slot machines and roulette.

Problem Gambling is more like Risk and Addiction in terms of presentation of material. It can also act as a stand-alone module and covers the difference between addiction and compulsion, based broadly on the DSM IV –R, the most current APA Manual (Version V is due for publication in 2012 and is referred to another topic). It discusses the efficacy of screening instruments in use to identify problem gamblers, as well as presenting a select few. It also discusses the various types of gamblers and looks at treatment options available for problem gamblers.

Impulsivity and Pathological Gambling , like Risk and Addiction can be seen as a stand-alone topic. It looks at the neuropsychology of impulsivity which is obviously closely linked to the topic of Risk. The material is presented in as accessible manner as possible but would probably best be understood by users with tertiary level education, or industry insiders with a particular interest in psychology. It looks at some recent studies done on the neurophysiology of gamblers. Impulsivity plays a pivotal role in pathological gambling.

Codependency may also be viewed as a stand-alone topic. It is most closely linked to Addiction. Codependency is an umbrella term and wide ranging concept that grew up out of the addiction field but which has taken on a more generalised meaning. The material would be accessible to interested users with at least a Grade 12 level of education. It traces the development of both the term and the concept and examines signs and symptoms as well as discussing treatment options.

Money Matters is a tangential offshoot in this mini-encyclopaedia of the focus on gambling and addiction. It is designed as a stand-alone Module that will be useful as a teaching/workshop/learning Module for adult learners (FET / ABET Level 3 - 5). It was felt by the creators of this site that such a module was necessary as it the NRPG is also there to educate adults about responsible use of money. It must clearly be understood that gambling is not a stable alternative income stream, even though it is sometimes perceived as such by those who can least afford this viewpoint. Ideally the NRPG would like all casino visitors to see gambling as a form of entertainment in which only “spare” money should be spent.  Money Matters covers topics such as decision making; personal finances; and saving. The section on saving is detailed regarding how banks function and what types of accounts are available. It, like Gambling, which it resembles in look and feel has Word Boxes and Activities so can be easily used as a teaching tool. There are also plenty of web addresses which can lead users to sites with greater detail. .

In the Library section there is a comprehensive list of Videos and Web Articles related to the topics covered in the mini encyclopaedia. References to most of these web sites are also to be found in the pages themselves  Likewise with the videos, some of which, when pertinent are to be found in the different modules.